First foray into the world of Moocs

I have recently started virtually attending a MOOC course on Coursera. One of their prized courses from Wharton Business School. The course is fantastic and the functionality of the website is faultless. And I am learning a great deal. In addition the stress of a course is removed by the fact that it is free.

I have found one of the advantages of a mooc is that it allows me to look into a new field of interest without overburdening myself with the worry of investing lots of time and  money, mostly money, in learning something I know very little about.

The quality of this course in particular is assured by the fact that the module is part of a course that costs $150,000. The only issue that I have found is that there is a certain amount of background reading that should be covered and that I don’t have access to, which would make the course slightly easier to understand. Launching into this course, labelled ‘introduction’, without any background in finance or economics has left me guessing my way around the material a little bit, and constantly being made aware of gaps in my knowledge.

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The course is laid out in clearly on the internet. Firstly there are the videos that make up each lecture. These videos show the material on the projector clearly and additionally come with notes. That I can pause and replay the lecture at any time, makes me think how archaic, traditional forms of lecturing is, where you are sat in a lecture hall bus scribbling the information on the board or what the lecturer is saying without having the luxury of time to work out what it all means. Apart from the video lectures there is the very important lecture notes, that is the actual core of the course,. I think you could probably complete the course questions by only reading the notes and not ‘attending’ the lectures. Finally there are the weekly problem sets, which make the course feel like its part of a university degree, through its weekly deadlines.

On top of all the official material provided by the university the website acts as a perfect facility to host a student forum to constructively discuss problems and difficulties with the material. I was surprised on reading a lot of forum entries, that the ‘Coursera honour code’ is mentioned very frequently, when problem sets are discussed in too much detail. The Coursera honour code basically prevents people from cheating, and students clearly try and abide by it, with a sense of reciprocative policing.

For someone who relegated maths and theories to the realm of secondary school, the course on finance challenges the faculties. As previously mentioned, for the initiated in Finance there could me more additional material.

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